Professionals Online Safety Helpline releases annual report of data from 2020 – 2021

07 Jan 2022 UK SIC

The Professionals Online Safety Helpline has just released their latest annual report with analysis of data in 2020 – 2021 that explores the problems that professionals have faced in tackling online issues affecting children and young people.
The helpline provides a variety of support including advice, signposting and mediation to resolve online safety issues that staff can face.

This can include incidents about themselves, such as protecting professional reputation and identity, as well as online harassment. It also extends to problems that affect young people, such as cyber-bullying or sexting issues.
The Professionals Online Safety helpline was started 10 years ago and during that time it has handled over 10,000 contacts and assisted with over 7,000 online safeguarding issues. As part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, along with Report Harmful Content, the helpline has been operated by SWGfL.

Top Trends and Insights

From this latest annual report, the helpline looks at the data around what the effects of lockdown were throughout this time. It also looks at the types of reports that were received from professionals working with children and young people. Some of the top trends and insights that were found included:

• ‘43% of cases involved problems relating to content posted on social media platforms’
• ‘Significant trend of fake online accounts made impersonating teachers and schools often containing abusive comments directed at staff, potentially affecting the reputation of schools and their staff’
• ‘The majority of concerns from school settings during lockdown related to the use of online platforms for delivery of lessons and professional/safeguarding risk when using these.’
• ‘Media concerns around the perceived prevalence of grooming during lockdown do not correlate with the case data from the helpline; little difference has been seen in cases relating to grooming pre and during the pandemic.’

You can download the full report below or, alternatively, take a look at the SWGfL media page that has a variety of social media content and graphics to use if you want to help spread the word about the helpline.

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